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Is this the beginning of a new phase of COVID defense? Photo: Pixabay.

Masking is no longer mandatory in these states

Although organizations such as the WHO still consider the use of face masks useful to prevent COVID-19 infection, the measure is beginning to be lifted.

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Several states in the United States controlled by Democratic leaders have announced dates for ending mask mandates, even within enclosed spaces such as shopping centers and restaurants.

New York joins these states starting on Thursday, Feb. 10, the date when the mandate expires. By order of the governor, Kathy Hochul, the measure will not be renewed. It will be the cities and other municipalities that decide whether the use of a mask is mandatory or not. Proof of vaccination is also not required.

Hochul clarified that the mandatory use of face masks will remain in effect until at least March for children who attend schools in person. The announcements come amid a drop in cases and a downward trend.

In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams has not yet made public whether he will follow the governor's advice and suspend the emergency order. For now, it remains in place.

The other five states to announce the lifting of the measure are Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, California and Oregon.

child wearing a mask

Europe relaxes too

The relaxation of the measures also seems to be choice of several European countries that have started or are contemplating initiating a stage where restrictions are no longer the strategy.

The United Kingdom, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, announced that if positive trends continue by the end of February, it could remove several requirements, including the quarantine requirement for people who become infected.

Women walk on the street wearing covid masks

France, for its part, is studying the possibility of eliminating the controversial COVID passport towards the end of March or the beginning of April, while in the Netherlands, amid a phase called “risk management,” it plans to relax most of restrictions and put an end to teleworking.

Poland, which plans to suspend the mask mandate in March, announced that starting on Feb. 21, all students from fifth grade onwards will return to in-person classes, while isolation periods will be reduced from 10 to seven days.

Sweden and Denmark have already lifted all restrictions implemented during the pandemic.

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